Family planning amidst cancer diagnosis: Egg and embryo freezing

doctor speaking with patients about fertility treatments

Did you know that certain cancer diagnoses and treatments have the ability to impact fertility? With advancements in technology and the availability of preventive screenings, cancer can now be detected at earlier stages allowing patients to take early action on fertility preservation.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer and wants to have children, there may be a need to plan ahead. If having a family is important, the patient must speak with their oncologist as soon as possible before cancer treatment begins. A personalized treatment plan incorporating fertility preservation may be possible.

Fertility preservation is when eggs, sperm, or reproductive tissue are saved or protected so a person can use them to have children later on, according to the American Cancer Society.

At Valley Health System, not only will Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care staff be available to provide high-quality care during a cancer diagnosis and journey, but The Valley Hospital’s Fertility Center can help if family planning is to be part of that journey.

The Valley Hospital Fertility Center offers a variety of options to give peace of mind for childbearing in the future. Egg freezing and embryo freezing are available to patients who have received a cancer diagnosis before chemotherapy or radiation begins.

Egg freezing, also known as egg harvesting, allows women to freeze and store their eggs until a pregnancy is desired. At that time, the eggs are thawed, fertilized, and transferred to the uterus as embryos.

Embryo freezing involves an in vitro fertilization cycle (IVF) with the intention to create embryos using the partners’ sperm. Eggs are surgically retrieved once mature and then immediately fertilized outside of the womb, and frozen and stored in an embryology lab.

The fertility center uses advanced protections for its egg and embryo freezing tanks. These include visual inspections, an alarm system, and 24/7 monitoring to ensure precise temperature control.

Fertility preservation treatment takes about two weeks. It can usually fit in between initial cancer diagnosis procedures and cancer treatment.

The fertility center team partners with the patient’s clinical team at Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care to coordinate fertility procedures with cancer treatment schedules. The center also offers a financial assistance program.

To learn more about fertility preservation available at The Valley Hospital Fertility Center, please visit

Dehan Chen, MD

About the Author

Dehan Chen, MD

Dr. Dehan Chen is an Associate Clinical Director at The Valley Hospital Fertility Center.